TERRY Cook knows a thing or two about underdogs.
He played his three State of Origin matches in 1995 when Queensland was given no chance of winning.
The Super League war was being waged and, as such, no players from the Broncos were selected for Origin that year.
That meant previously overlooked players such as Cook and then unheralded Ben Ikin were called on to face a formidable looking New South Wales line-up, which while still affected by the lock-out of Super League aligned players, boasted talents like Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler.
History shows Paul Vautin's men went on to win the series 3-0 in what will go down as one of the biggest boilovers in Origin history.
Now the situation is reversed.
Queensland will chase an unprecedented seventh-straight series victory over the next six weeks and the Maroons have been instilled as heavy $1.47 favourites to open the series with victory in Melbourne tonight.
But Toowoomba publican Terry Cook is expecting things to be much closer and that Queensland can not underestimate a Blues squad desperate for victory.
"It'll be tight. It's not going to be a runaway series for us," he said.
Cook is wary of the attacking strength of the Blues line-up for game one and says it is the most dangerous outfit NSW has assembled in years.
The former Gatton Hawk expects the Queensland backline, however, to outgun their Blues rivals.
"NSW has probably got the best attacking side they've had in years but it's a matter of if they can defend us," Cook said.
"They'll score points but I think we'll score more.
"If they can keep us to around 12 points they'll go close to winning it."
Cook will watch the game from the bar at his Metropole Hotel and anticipates Maroons coach Mal Meninga will get his charges to take NSW on up the middle in a bid to take early control of the series.